Here’s What Nobody Tells You About Being A Record-Breaking Athlete
By Michelle October; Photography by Paul Samuels
The hours of hard work is unreal.
Last year, Dominique Scott, South African long-distance athlete found herself competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics. “I was surrounded by athletes I’ve looked up to my entire life,” she muses. “There I was, in the Olympic village, walking around with other athletes, eating amongst them in the cafeteria. And I realised, these people, there’s nothing special about them, other than the fact that they’ve worked their butts off to get where they are.” In the same way, Scott had been working her whole life to join that elite club of athletic titans.
“I want people to know that I’m not like a superhero or something,” Scott says. “I don’t love working out every day; there are days when I don’t wanna work out either, and I wanna eat a doughnut too!” For Scott, running is her job. But there are days when she doesn’t feel like getting up and doing her job. There are days when everything hurts and the workout is especially tough. But it’s that constant push that puts her where she is today. “In track and field it’s all about hard work and I think you can create your own success,” she says. “Someone could say, ‘Dominique is really lucky’, but I think that I’ve worked really hard, and from that hard work, those successes have come.”
You Have To Set Goals — And Chase Them Fiercely
“I’d definitely say my goals motivate me in a hard workout. Every season I write new goals for myself; something that excites me, that seems a little bit hard but not totally out there,” she says. But on the down days, even her goals don’t work. Take two weeks ago, when she had to wake up early to go for her morning run. But it was cold, she was alone, and she didn’t want to trudge along in the frost. So she drove to a local coffee shop, started her run there, and told herself that when she came back, she’d spoil herself with a café latte. “Sometimes you need to do that, you need to find a way to motivate yourself,” she says.
You Have To Hustle In Your Downtime
A big part of what makes Scott successful is how she works off the track. While she was on holiday in South Africa (Dominique is based in America), she needed to block out time for long running sessions to keep up her fitness levels. She’s also got to watch what she eats, so she can stay lithe and fast in her races. But what’s really important is the recovery work Dominique puts in. “You can’t just run hard and practice. You also have to come home and do the recovery work,” says Scott. That means eating healthily, getting enough sleep and stretching out tired muscles, she adds. “I think that’s where a lot of difference is made between good athletes and great athletes.” And it shows, doesn’t it?